Wall Street hovers at records; energy losses counter Amazon strength

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s major indexes were little changed on Monday after retreating from record highs set during the session as gains for Amazon were countered by losses in shares of chipmakers and energy companies.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 20, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Investors also digested strong economic data, which showed sales of new U.S. single-family homes unexpectedly rose in October to hit a 10-year high amid robust demand across the country.

Prospects for corporate tax cuts have also occupied market watchers hoping such reforms would further fuel the record-setting run for equities.

President Donald Trump was to meet with Senate Republican tax writers to scope out an end-game strategy for sweeping tax legislation, ahead of a crucial vote on the Senate floor that could come as early as Thursday.

“You have got this continuous background of tax reform,” said Peter Andersen, chief investment officer with Fiduciary Trust Company in Boston.

”But underlying that, if you just take your eyes off that for a moment and look at the other fundamentals of the economy and the world economy, things look very positive,” Andersen said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 21.56 points, or 0.09 percent, to 23,579.55, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.71 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,601.71 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 10.59 points, or 0.15 percent, to 6,878.57.

Shares of online retailer Amazon (AMZN.O) rose 1.1 percent, giving the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. Record online sales were seen on Black Friday and Thanksgiving last week, when shoppers bagged deep discounts and bought more on their mobile devices.

Amazon shares led the S&P 500 retailing index .SPXRT up 0.7 percent.

Energy .SPNY was the worst-performing major sector, falling 1.0 percent. Oil prices fell, with U.S. crude easing from two-year highs on prospects of higher supply and uncertainty about Russia’s resolve to join in extending output cuts ahead of this week’s OPEC meeting.

Shares of oil majors Chevron (CVX.N) and Exxon (XOM.N) fell 0.9 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Among chip stocks, Micron Technology (MU.O) declined 3.4 percent and Nvidia (NVDA.O) slipped 1.1 percent, with the Philadelphia semiconductor index .SOX off 1.0 percent.

The declines followed a 5 percent drop in shares of Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) in Asian trading after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock, citing concerns that a boom in memory chips is likely to peak soon.

Shares of hard drive maker Western Digital (WDC.O) dropped 7.0 percent after a downgrade.

In merger news, Time (TIME.N) rose 9.5 percent after media company Meredith (MDP.N) said it would buy the magazine publisher. Meredith shares surged 11.0 percent.

Barracuda Networks (CUDA.N) shares jumped 16.5 percent after the data security company agreed to be bought by private equity firm Thoma Bravo LLC.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.38-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.35-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

Additional eporting by Sruthi Shankar and Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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